If you're looking for reliable, configurable data transmission over long distances for your project, check out the RPi900 Long Range Radio.
Originally designed for applications using solar power and telemetry in remote locations where connectivity to the grid and the internet is difficult or impossible, the RPi900, when mounted on a
Raspberry Pi alongside a DNT900 transceiver module from RFM, can communicate at more than 20 miles (line-of-sight) to send information to and from other units.
Maker Matthew Hollingworth, who developed the RPi900, has one of his units rigged up in a weatherproof CCTV enclosure along with a camera module and solar controller. The enclosure is connected to an external solar panel and battery, and installed at a remote location to record and upload periodic images and photograph sunset timelapses, which are then transferred to another RPi900 unit installed on the roof of his house. Pretty cool!
"The RPi900 can be used anywhere a remote, low-power linux installation is desired for telemetry, monitoring and control of equipment," writes Hollingworth. "Examples include industrial and agricultural settings, as well as weather stations and webcams. RPi900 is also useful as a compact radio base station--for example, as a ground control station for an autonomous aerial vehicle (UAV) or high-altitude balloon."
And the best news of all: the RPi900 is on sale for 33% off until December 25th. A unit normally costs $45, but with the sale you can get your hands on an RPi900 right now for $30.
You can learn more about the RPi900 and browse a full set of tutorials for installation and use at RPi900.com.
Arduino and similar products are great for prototyping and tinkering projects, but they don’t meet all needs. If you’ve ever wanted more control over the boards you use in your projects, there is a great new resource that can help you make your own boards.
Make Zine has just released a new guide to creating a board from scratch, using the free EAGLE software program to design the circuit board that can be custom printed for you. The Make Zine guide uses the Really Bare Bones Board (RBBB) as a basic design. RBBB is a simple board that has been used in tons of awesome projects (like this fireworks ignition system and this super-smart puzzle solving robot).
Anyone (hardware newbs and pros) interested in learning more about how circuit boards are designed will enjoy taking a look at this guide. Comprehensive step-by-step instructions can be found at the Make Zine website.
A vector-graphics program is used here to add an image that will be screen-printed onto the final version of the Really Bare Bones Board. Photo from MakeZine.
Small open source hardware producers who want to use USB in their creations are facing a new challenge, according to news from Arachnid Labs, a OSHW electronics operation.
The folks at Arachnid report that they approached the USB Implementers Forum (the non-profit organization that manages the USB standard) with a simple question: "how can small, Open Source Hardware vendors get official ID codes for their USB capable devices?"
The USB-IF mandates that manufacturers of USB-capable devices to be sold on the open market purchase a $5,000 license. Nick Johnson, the man behind Arachnid Labs, asked USB-IF to consider providing this license to OSHW non-profits which could then issue ID codes to its members.
Their response? Apparently, the only way for OSHW makers who sell their creations to get a license is to pay the $5K - something that is not an option for most makers. So for now, USB is out of reach for makers who are also sellers - individuals we see a lot of around here.
Here’s a cool project we stumbled across: the Circuit Sketchbook. It's a DIY notebook with a cell-phone power supply built into the back that allows the user to create functional circuit prototypes on paper using conductive metallic tape and small electronic stickers (LEDs, microcontrollers, and more).
Pretty cool, right? It seems like a project with huge potential for teaching people about circuits, and for allowing makers to fool around with designs on the go. Check out this video of example circuits for a few more great ideas of what a person can do with this sketchbook, as well as an explanation of how it works and how it was put together.
The circuit sketchbook is designed by Jie Qi, a Ph.D candidate at MIT. Check out more of Jie's DIY projects.
The BLE112 Bluetooth Low Energy Breakout board is one of the most popular products on InMojo and allows makers to experiment with wirelessly transmitting data to and from modern smartphones and Bluetooth 4.0 devices.
BLE, or Bluetooth Low Energy, is the latest iteration of the Bluetooth wireless communication standard and is already revolutionizing the maker and DIY electronics communities. The biggest advantage of BLE is its low power requirements which allow you to operate for months to years without needing to change batteries! Also, BLE allows your project to communicate with a wide-range of Bluetooth 4.0-enabled devices - whether that be a mobile device or a robot friend.
The possibilities for applications of this technology are literally endless. Check out this short video showcasing some BLE apps - we particularly like the sensor options that can warn of frost, low soil moisture in potted plants and proximity.
Here's a short video showcasing an InMojo seller's BLE112 Breakout in action. This BLE112 breakout gives access to all the pins of the BLE112 Bluetooth Low Energy module, making it simpler to use this technology in many projects. Soldering the BLE112 module onto a board can be a bit tricky, which is why Jeff Rowberg who put together these breakouts, offers the option of a pre-mounted BLE112 module. Jeff also offers a bare breakout board for folks who want to take up the soldering challenge themselves.
Well, it has been a while but finally the InMojo blog is back in business.
After a long hiatus to improve the website function and stability and a big push to improve InMojo Make (the manufacturing arm of the business), we finally have some energy to put into the blog - so expect new posts here about every week from now on.
InMojo supports the Open Source Hardware Definition v1.0